The seventh-inning stretch
By Bryan Fischer
Islam is at war with America. Authorities will admit to somewhere between 32 and 46 actual Islamic terrorist attempts on American soil, designed to inflict mass casualties, since 9/11. Not one has succeeded. Why?
I was reminded again last night, as I watched my beloved San Francisco Giants go down in flames at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, of my theory as to why America has not been hit again by a large-scale jihadist attack since 9/11.
As has become the custom in postseason games in major league baseball, a portion of the seventh inning stretch was devoted last night to the singing of “God Bless America.”
As I have mentioned before, what is significant here is that “God Bless America” is not just a song – it is a prayer. When baseball fans by the tens of thousands sing this song in unison, they are not just singing, they are praying. They are joining together in intercessory prayer for the United States of America.
They are asking with one voice and one heart for God to “bless” America, to “stand beside her” and to “guide her,” “through the night with a light from above.”
At Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium, the song is sung at every game throughout the season. It is sung before every Major League Baseball All-Star game, on Opening Day, on Memorial Day, on the 4th of July, on Labor Day, and on the anniversary of 9/11 as well as during every playoff game.
Renowned Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has become famous for his version, which includes the prologue of the song, the prologue written by Irving Berlin but rarely sung. (Kate Smith always included it in what became her signature song.)
The prologue makes it clear that the song is an appeal to Heaven (emphasis added):
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
The bottom line here is that during the playoffs and the World Series, major league baseball converts every host stadium into a temporary cathedral during the seventh inning and invites Americans to lift their voices in a full-throated appeal to Providence to bless, protect, and guide the United States of America.
When Ben Franklin urged the Constitutional Convention to open each session in prayer, he reminded his fellow delegates that they had met in the very same room (what is now Independence Hall in Philadelphia) during the conflict with England. He pointed out that “when we sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”
Franklin added, “Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.”
Franklin quoted the words of Psalm 127:1: “[E]xcept the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it,” which is not bad for a reputed Deist who, we are told, believed that God was utterly disengaged from human affairs.
The next verse in Franklin’s Psalm reads, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
I would submit to you that the Lord has been watching over America in part because America’s baseball fans have been asking him to.
Our prayers have been heard, and they have been graciously answered.
Be sure to watch – and root for – the Giants, and whatever else you do, add your silent agreement to the prayers offered in each stadium during the seventh inning. Let’s make all of America a giant cathedral for those brief, shining moments.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.